This post was supposed to be about our Christmas break...but some of us are not off of it yet. The new year was supposed to start on Monday. All the kids back to school and me back to getting something done around the house during the day. Well it hasn't happened yet.
Ashley has been home sick all week and all plans of normalcy are out the window. It's not too bad though because I think I've got it too, though not as bad as poor Ashley. Not feeling good gives me no motivation to do anything but sit on the couch and cuddle her. (It's taken me all week upload these pictures for example.)
Before Christmas we took a break from the "getting ready" for Christmas to use our Universal Studios passes one last time.
Jeff took a half day off and we headed out for one last day of fun there.
We met some new friends
And watched whoville come to life.
Then headed over to let the kids experience snow. Well California blown from a truck kind of snow.
Wait kids stop! There is no running, throwing, playing, and other such rules about the snow....
What are you supposed to do then? Just stand on it I guess!
Christmas Eve we agreed to let the kids each open the present they got for each other after our Christmas Eve family home evening. I think it helped them appreciate each other's gifts more instead of waiting until the next day.
I love it!
Just what I wanted, a BOX!
Christmas morning we told the kids they had to wait until 6:30 to wake us up. Which they did on the dot. (They had been up much longer)
Santa brought Jacob just what he asked for. He was happy.
Since Taylor only knew one thing to ask for he got it and some suprises.
I knew the shirt would be a hit or a miss. He liked it though because "it was so random".
Ashley also was happy with her presents...
Thanks Grandpa and grandma...we always love your packages :) ! Christmas in the mail is great!
After our family celebration was over we packed up the car for Utah and Christmas with Jeff's family.
Christmas was at Dale's this year. Despite his obvious pleasure at having us at his house they were great hosts. :) (Just kidding Dale, had to throw that in there)
Christmas with cousins is always fun.
And, we were so glad to have Gage and Chase drive up to Palmdale to celebrate with us.
Thanks Steve and Tahna and family for the movie (we watched on the way to Utah and back), the games (we played with friends in Utah) and the dinner certificate (we can't wait to use)! Love you guys.
All too quickly it was time to hit the road and head to Utah.
I say our kids have now idea how nice they have it. They enjoy the drive with DVD's, video games and music. We used to drive to Utah in the heat of the summer with no air-conditioning, heat blasting from the windows as we crossed the dessert with only a book to entertain us. Then we would have to peel ourselves from the vinal seats at every time we would stop.
After an overnight stay in Mesquite and some great breakfast at their coffee shop we headed to Salt Lake. We got in town at about 4:00 and checked into the Hilton in downtown right next to temple square (Jeff got a deal on priceline for $52.00 for that night).
After we unloaded our stuff we headed to the Joseph Smith Building to check it out and eat dinner at the Garden restaurant (we always wanted to but never have).
We got there just as it was getting dark.
We got to watch the lights come on while we were waiting for our table.
Good food and a great view in the warm restaurant.
Afterwards we went down to walk around Temple Square.
Us Californians were so unprepared for the cold. Weather in the teens is definately not what we are used to.
We wimped out in less than 10 minutes and came into the tabernacle to thaw out. It was about now that we realized we really needed the hats and gloves we packed and couldn't find and Jacob had outgrown his jacket (he never uses it at home).
Before we went back to the hotel we made a quick Wallmart trip to stock up on warm stuff. We even found a jacket for Jacob that was only $7.00.
The next morning we woke up and went to the conference center to see Music and the spoken word. We got to watch the Christmas one. It was great and it was great to see the conference center all decorated in person since we had watched the Christmas devotional on TV earlier in the month.
The kids enjoyed it too even though Taylor started nodding off at the end (he said the relaxing music, the warm room and a comfortable chair did him in:)
Afterwards we went to visit a ward in the Joseph Smith building.
We met in what was an old ballroom where President Hinckley went to his high school prom.
We were able to hear from one of the new general authorities who was orignially from Africa. He got up and spoke about his gratitude to the missionary and his wife who travelled to Africa and taught him back in 1985. The former missionary happened to be in the ward and he had him get up to thank him personally, of course he was so old and feeble he could barely get up to the stand. It was touching as he helped encourage those in the room to serve a mission because he said you'll never know how much one life could change other's for good.
After church we drove up to Bountiful to stay with my Aunt and Uncle, David and Lorraine Hovey. On the way there we saw a group of deer walking down the side of the road (you can see them if you look close in this person's yard)
As we slowed down they jumped into the backyard and then we drove as close as we could to watch them all hop over the fence! I guess they are quite common in their neighborhood.
We were happy to be able to visit the Hovey House and let the kids play with theirs. They were definately getting lots of energy out all over the house together :)
The next day we got the kids all bundled up and took them sledding.
They live two streets over from what happened to be the BEST sledding hill, which also happened to be part of their ward building.
The ride was so fun it was even worth climbing back up the hill.
They were having so much fun I just had to get in on the action.
After awhile we got cold and came back to have hot chocolate and relax. Jeff doing New York Life business so we just hung out and visited and the kids were introduced to watching the Cosby Show in the basement (now they love it).
After Jeff got back we had him change and we went out sledding again! Too much fun!!
It was the perfect day for it too!
That evening we packed up and headed to Highland to visit the Larsen's. They are good friends that were originally from California. Kyle and Taylor used to be best friends when they were little so they were excited to catch up with each other...well as much as you can while playing video games.
The Larsen's were the BEST hosts and fed us yummy things like French Toast and Crepes and were very glad to have us even though Heather had to work, they had a couple of kids not feeling well and out of town family coming in the same time we were there. There never acted like we were putting them out :) Thanks guys you were awesome.
The next day we took Kyle with us to the movies while Damon took the younger kids to the doctor's. We were planning on going down to BYU but since the snowstorm came 2 days early it was snowing too hard to want to travel any farther than the movie theater :)
When we got back the kids bundled up to enjoy the snow while it was actually coming down. Jacob jumped on the snow filled trampoline and then they all tried having a snowball fight.
Ashley tried making snowballs with their handy dandy snowball maker (but it was too powdery).
The boys even got a change to learn how to shovel a sidewalk and driveway.
Kyle had to show them how it was done.
What an Angel Jacob.
That night Heather's brother and his family got in and we left all the kids home so the adults could go and see Avatar in 3-D (movies are very popular in a snowstorm:).
It was a lot of fun.
The next morning it was time to head back home.
Mother nature left a little "present" for us on our car. So much for our shoveling job!
We were trying to avoid the snowstorms by leaving before it came but no such luck...we were leaving right in the middle of it.
Jeff is ready for anything...
Here is our driving conditions.
We passed a few spin outs and accidents.
This one was a fatality from a head on collision from someone who came from the other side of the freeway! I was watching for spin out from BOTH sides of the road for the rest of the time.
We drove in snow all the way until Saint George. You could see the degrees in the car change to just above freezing and then all the sudden it was rain!
We were very glad to get to our hotel in Vegas safely. There wasn't a cloud in the sky in Vegas!
We stayed at the Red Rock Inn which ended up being waaaaayyyy off of the strip (fine by me!)
Here was our room and the view :). Jeff always has us pack swim stuff "just in case" but here was our last hotel with lots of pools and guess what...they were closed. I wasn't really in the mood to swim in the middle of winter.
For our last night we decided to check out the stratosphere and eat dinner on the top!
I have to say I really don't care for Vegas, at least downtown Vegas anyway.
I can't stand all the garbage dressed up in sequins and neon lights trying to pretend like it's the most desirable stuff you could ever want. In the end it's still garbage and filth. I alway cringe at what might be around the corner that I have to shield my children from.
Of course we had to walk through the stratosphere's mall to get to the elevators to go up to the top. Don't get me wrong most of it was like a normal mall but I am hypersensitive to all the things that I would rather not have the kids see. (I was going to scream if I saw another huge poster for their "adult's only" show for example.)
The only store we tried to go into was a magic shop where a guy was about to perform a trick. As we walk in the kids and Jeff are watching the magic but I am standing right next to a rack of black and white postcards with topless burlesque girls in the middle of the store. Are you kidding me?! My family was suprised when I marched them right back out of the store just as they were doing the trick.
I told them to just keep moving...
Luckily when we got to the restaurant all we were greated with was a beautiful view of the city above all the filth :) ...
The restaurant spun around so we got to see the whole view of the city. (Ashley and Jacob's favorite part was standing on the part that spins and the part that doesn't spin until they did the splits).
The food was very good and our waitress was a sweetheart. Here's Jacob and Ashley's cheesecake lollipops :)
While we were going to the stratosphere we joked about doing the rides on top. No one had any intentions on going but while we were going up to the observation deck the guy selling the ride tickets got the boys excited about it and gave us one free ticket. Part of his pitch was insisting that Jacob could ride too (even though he's really 1/2 inch too short).
The boys all geared up to go on the one that shoots you up to the highest point in Vegas!
While they were boarding the guy at the top told them Jacob couldn't go. (Jeff said he was relieved) he was writing them the ticket to get a refund and suddenly he changed his mind. So they did it!
So here's our brave boys!
Victory! Jacob was SO excited to have gone on it!
The next morning we hit the overcrowded breakfast buffet (new years eve) and were on our way home! New Years Eve we were so tired we all just ended up going to be early.
And our New Year's Day was celebrated with a sicky, exhausted husband.
Loads of laundry and unpacking for me...
a sicky, exhausted son...
and me frantically helping Jacob with another Science Project that didn't end up working (two years in a row).
When he got to school on Monday he found out it wasn't due for another week.